Christ Church Cathedral gingerbread creation to raise money

Press Release – Pen-y-bryn Lodge

Media release from Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Oamaru 1 December 2011 Christ Church Cathedral gingerbread creation to raise money for earthquake fund A magnificent gingerbread replica of Christ Church Cathedral has been painstakingly created by two US-born …Media release from Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Oamaru
1 December 2011

Christ Church Cathedral gingerbread creation to raise money for earthquake fund

A magnificent gingerbread replica of Christ Church Cathedral has been painstakingly created by two US-born lodge owners from Oamaru.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge owners James Boussy and James Glucksman have spent more than 100 hours designing, baking, putting together and icing a stunning gingerbread version of the 130-year-old Christchurch icon.

The pair have been making gingerbread creations since 1997 as a centrepiece for their Christmas celebrations as they have travelled all around the world.

They hit on the idea of creating a gingerbread Christ Church Cathedral, officially ‘revealed’ today (Thursday December 1), following the devastating February earthquake

“Like many throughout the country we were devastated to learn that this beautiful historic building will be partly demolished and will never look the same again,” said Mr Glucksman.

“It seemed absolutely fitting that for our second Christmas celebration in New Zealand we would create something that paid homage to the original building while also fundraising to help Christchurch rise up and get back on its feet.”

The two Jameses have installed a collection box for the Christchurch Mayoral Earthquake Relief Fund at Pen-y-bryn and are asking for a minimum $10 donation to view the gingerbread creation, by appointment only.

Each panel of the cathedral was first made in a form using sheet metal. All parts of the gingerbread are edible, and consist solely of gingerbread, royal icing and caramel.

The cathedral is 56cm long, 36cm wide and 50cm high to the tip of the spire (not including the base). The construction of the structure took 500 grams of brown sugar, 2.2kg of flour, 560g of margarine, and contains 16,405 kcal if you were to eat it (without the icing, which would add around another 1200 kcal).

Despite being technically edible, Mr Glucksman said it wasn’t advisable to actually eat them, since it was baked to a point “beyond palatability”.

The gingerbread creation will be on display at Pen-y-bryn Lodge throughout the Christmas season, and the Jameses have yet to decide what they will do with it afterwards.

“Last year we placed our gingerbread creation of Pen-y-bryn Lodge in the Oamaru Library after Christmas so that more people could see it,” said Mr Glucksman.

“When we lived in Virginia we used to give them to the squirrels as they were generally looking for energy food during the snowy Christmas period.”

Mr Glucksman said their tradition of gingerbread houses stemmed from an article by US style-guru Martha Stewart about how she had made a gingerbread house modeled on her own property.

“In 1997, James and I moved into a new house in Fairfax, Virginia, and planned to host a Christmas party. We were looking for something to serve as the centrepiece of the event, and hit on the idea of a gingerbread house after reading an article in Martha Stewart Living.

“Our new house served as the theoretical model for our gingerbread house, and it was a big hit.”

The following year, the pair travelled to Russia and decided to make a gingerbread house version of the newly-rebuilt Church of Christ the Saviour, which had been destroyed by Stalin.

That proved to be an even bigger sensation at that year’s party, and a tradition was born.

As James and James travelled around the world for their respective careers, former gingerbread creations have included Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, the Lama Temple in Beijing, and other notable landmarks in Budapest, China, Tibet and Bangkok.
The gingerbread version of Budapest’s iconic Parliament building eventually even became the centrepiece of the Christmas party at the Hungarian embassy in Washington, DC.
Mr Glucksman said while it was always an issue ‘hiding’ the gingerbread house during their annual Thanksgiving celebration in late November, it was worth it for the surprise element of the “big reveal” on December 1.

“Our guests love to see the detail and ask about the work that’s gone into the gingerbread creation, and it’s sure to be a hit with the many guests we’ll host for Christmas functions and meals,” he said.

“We still have limited rooms available during the Christmas period and will welcome visitors from all around the world who will no doubt be more than happy to donate to the Christchurch cause.”

A special ‘Pen-y-bryn Festive Package’ for two people includes a Christmas-themed dinner, accommodation in a stunning boutique room and full breakfast. The cost is $875+GST per couple. Additional room nights available on request.


More about Pen-y-bryn Lodge and the Jameses
Pen-y-bryn Lodge is a small luxury hotel offering exclusive Lodge-style accommodation in five elegant and superbly appointed guestrooms with modern en-suite facilities in a hillside location overlooking historic Oamaru with views of sea and mountains.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge was built in 1889 for Oamaru businessman John Bulleid, who gave the building a Welsh name meaning “On Top of the Hill” in honour of his Welsh-born wife, Fanny. Reputedly the largest single-level wooden structure in Australasia, the house retains many of its original furnishings and fittings, giving it a very elegant, yet comfortable, feeling. Converted into a lodge in the mid-1990s, and bearing five Qualmark stars, Pen-y-bryn offers guests a rare combination of authentic Kiwi heritage and modern convenience.

Hosts James Glucksman and James Boussy (aka ‘the Jameses’), purchased Pen-y-bryn in 2010. Born in the United States, the Jameses lived and travelled all over the world before making their home in Oamaru.

Before Pen-y-bryn, James Glucksman had a career in international management consulting and healthcare for more than 20 years, living and working in more than forty countries all over the world. Fluent in Russian and Chinese, and with a very good knowledge of French, Spanish and German (as well as some limited Japanese and Hungarian), James’ first love was always fine food and wine. He is a member of the Slow Food movement (the international organisation that promotes local and sustainable foods) and is an Officier Maître Hôtelier (since elevated to Chancelier of the NZ chapter of the Chaîne) in the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the Paris-based gourmet society, in the Bailliage of Christchurch.

James Boussy was a dentist who practiced in the US state of Virginia for 15 years before moving his practice to Beijing. James is also a highly skilled baker, gardener and home renovator, and has made a name for himself among his friends for the exquisite gingerbread houses that he creates as the centrepiece of the Jameses’ annual Christmas party.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge owners (L-R) James Boussy and James Glucksman with the 2011 Gingerbread House creation.jpg

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